Newsweek: The End of Paper Route

An end to a remarkable journey.

This week, the popular news magazine Newsweek begins a new era in its operations. Starting January 2013, all future issues of the magazine will go digital, meaning all subscribers will be sent copies right on their mobile gadgets. The above issue hit newsstands on December 24, 2012, capping off a spectacular 79-year journey dating back to the release of the premiere issue on February 17, 1933.

This move is part of a partnership between Newsweek and the online news source The Daily Beast, wherein the publication will be called Newsweek Global. The publication management stated that the shift was prompted by increasing demand for getting news from online content.

Here’s the actual announcement from EIC Tina Brown and CEO Baba Shetty posted at their website on Oct 21, 2012:

We are announcing this morning an important development at Newsweek and The Daily Beast. Newsweek will transition to an all-digital format in early 2013. As part of this transition, the last print edition in the United States will be our Dec. 31 issue.

Meanwhile, Newsweek will expand its rapidly growing tablet and online presence, as well as its successful global partnerships and events business.

Newsweek Global, as the all-digital publication will be named, will be a single, worldwide edition targeted for a highly mobile, opinion-leading audience who want to learn about world events in a sophisticated context. Newsweek Global will be supported by paid subscription and will be available through e-readers for both tablet and the Web, with select content available on The Daily Beast.

Tina Brown and Baba Shetty discuss Newsweek’s digital future.

Four years ago we launched The Daily Beast. Two years later, we merged our business with the iconic Newsweek magazine—which The Washington Post Company had sold to Dr. Sidney Harman. Since the merger, both The Daily Beast and Newsweek have continued to post and publish distinctive journalism and have demonstrated explosive online growth in the process. The Daily Beast now attracts more than 15 million unique visitors a month, a 70 percent increase in the past year alone—a healthy portion of this traffic generated each week by Newsweek’s strong original journalism.
newsweek-covers-topbox-ipad-tease

At the same time, our business has been increasingly affected by the challenging print advertising environment, while Newsweek’s online and e-reader content has built a rapidly growing audience through the Apple, Kindle, Zinio and Nook stores as well as on The Daily Beast. Tablet-use has grown rapidly among our readers and with it the opportunity to sustain editorial excellence through swift, easy digital distribution—a superb global platform for our award-winning journalism. By year’s end, tablet users in the United States alone are expected to exceed 70 million, up from 13 million just two years ago.

Currently, 39 percent of Americans say they get their news from an online source, according to a Pew Research Center study released last month. In our judgment, we have reached a tipping point at which we can most efficiently and effectively reach our readers in all-digital format. This was not the case just two years ago. It will increasingly be the case in the years ahead.

It is important that we underscore what this digital transition means and, as importantly, what it does not. We are transitioning Newsweek, not saying goodbye to it. We remain committed to Newsweek and to the journalism that it represents. This decision is not about the quality of the brand or the journalism—that is as powerful as ever. It is about the challenging economics of print publishing and distribution.

Newsweek is produced by a gifted and tireless team of professionals who have been offering brilliant work consistently throughout a tough period of ownership transition and media disruption. Regrettably we anticipate staff reductions and the streamlining of our editorial and business operations both here in the U.S. and internationally.

Exiting print is an extremely difficult moment for all of us who love the romance of print and the unique weekly camaraderie of those hectic hours before the close on Friday night. But as we head for the 80th anniversary of Newsweek next year we must sustain the journalism that gives the magazine its purpose—and embrace the all-digital future.

Relevance

How does this even relate to MAGDALO as a publication? Well, our school paper may not have a readership as large as that of Newsweek, but can this be a challenge to the paper to amp up its services to the studentry?

Some of the other student publications in the country have made the leap to publishing more news online, and there was a plan seven years ago to have issues released in PDF form along with the paper content. In the middle of the previous decade, we maintained Blogger pages dedicated to various news fields. We also operated a special website for our news but did not progress beyond one issue.

Segue to today. The past few years have seen a rapid shift in the thrust of MAGDALO’s operations. A purge carried out by a desperate, fat shell of a man who changed the whole game, a rapid turnover of staff members with only a few dedicated to go on, and another change of volume  number that does not fit the facts. While the man who engineered one of the biggest acts of treachery may be gone, the content we churn out is still suspect. How it can be done when 90% of the staff roster is gone by the end of the next batch and some of those ex-staffers are even arrogant asses when we reach out to them?

A digitalized MAGDALO may be possible if the content is high-quality and devoid of propaganda. How to address the problem of such a high publication fee every sem is still one thorny issue to be addressed.

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